For nearly two centuries, the Associated Press (AP) has been at the forefront of delivering fair, accurate and unbiased news to the world. In today’s climate of “fake news,” the AP’s rigorous standards and fact-based journalism are more important than ever. According to a recent Pew Research poll, a majority of Americans distrust the government or each other, while nearly two-thirds have a negative view of news sources and the media. News organizations have felt these frustrations increase and many outlets, including the AP, are using new tools to combat the “fake news” outcry.
Michael Fabiano, A.L.M. ’16, and newly elected president of the Harvard Extension Alumni Association (HEAA), leads the AP’s business strategy for the Americas and has witnessed massive change within the industry. Before that, Fabiano worked for NBC News as vice president and general manager of NBC Digital Publishing, where he built a company-wide digital publishing business.He spoke to the Gazette about how technology shifted his mindset toward lifelong learning, the challenges facing news organizations and what AP is doing to solidify trust in the media.
Gazette: There has been an increased push by adults to continue their education past traditional schooling and to continue learning throughout their whole lives. How do you feel you can extend that push as new president of the HEAA?
Fabiano: I have firsthand experience of proactively retooling my skillset twice since beginning my business career. When the internet enabled mass globalization and exponential technological advancement, I witnessed a significant shift in business. I wanted an edge to stay relevant.
I worked full time and attended Columbia Business School’s Executive MBA program in 2005. Ten years later, I found Harvard Extension School’s journalism program. It was unique in that I was able to take classes in the law school in intellectual property, learn the latest in content management system technology, as well as explore how the internet has impacted writing and content creation.
A technological tipping point is occurring in higher education, allowing us to leap well beyond the traditional classroom lecture experience. Driven by interactive classroom software and artificial intelligence, society has, for the first time in history, an educational model that is quite different from the traditional classroom lecture — and arguably much more impactful.
My experiences have given me a depth of understanding of how continuing education programs are delivered to working adults and where the value is to corporations and students. Businesses can see value added immediately as experienced students bring classroom knowledge into the workplace. As a hiring manager, I want employees that have the persistence to work and attend school simultaneously.
Our board needs to function at a more strategic level than ever before, working with our incredibly talented alumni, integrating across the other Harvard schools, and positioning Harvard Extension School as the premier lifetime learning community that it is.